Science institutions throughout the country celebrated Brain Awareness Week March 10-16 with fairs, exhibitions and competitions, sharing their events globally via social media and the tag #brainweek.
The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience and 50 students from Palm Beach and Martin counties took part in the third annual Brain Bee Challenge, where students toured state-of-the-art research labs, participated in demonstrations and Q&A sessions with neuroscientists, and competed in teams in a brain science quiz.
The team format was a new addition to this year’s Brain Bee, which in prior years was an individual competition.
“Collaboration is an important part of the scientific process and a core value of the Max Planck Society and MPFI,” said Dr. Ana Fiallos, head of education outreach. “We were excited to incorporate that through the new format this year.”
For the third year in a row, the MPFI Brain Bee was funded by the Mary and Robert Pew Public Education Fund.
“The reality is, some schools just have more resources available to them than others,” said Louise Grant, the Pew Fund’s executive director. “We support the Brain Bee because it gives all students an equal opportunity to be challenged and to realize the full potential they have outside of the classroom.”
Seniors Christopher Aguirre of Atlantic High School and Cynthia Colas of Olympic Heights High School took home the first-place title. Michael MeCabe, Sienna Young and Chandni Rana of Jupiter High School came in second place, while Olivia Williams and Camila Yepes of Seminole Ridge High School and Oliver Levy of Jupiter High School made up the third-place team.
Prizes for the winners included donations to the high schools of the winning students, and for the first-place winners, an invitation to shadow a scientist for a day.
For more information on MPFI and the Brain Bee Challenge, visit www.maxplanckflorida.org.
ABOVE: Oliver Levy and SRHS students Camila Yepes and Olivia Williams finished in third place.